There are certain brands people instinctively gravitate toward for outerwear. It’s far from uncommon to spot North Face and Patagonia. One might occasionally see the expensive Canada Goose option as well. These brands, and many more, provide a wide array of well-made, long-lasting jackets for all seasons but they aren’t designed for every occasion. When it comes to outdoor work in harsh conditions, a single brand seems to consistently rise to the top. It’s difficult to find a jacket that withstands the natural (and sometimes industrial) elements quite like Carhartt.
As a brand that has been perfecting their designs for well over a hundred years, Carhartt has ensured their specific lines of outerwear continually improve. The company does many things well, but keeping you dry and warm while wrapped in a highly durable fabric is why they’re regarded so highly amongst tough working individuals. Carhartt has become a brand synonymous with work sites similar to the idea that truck manufacturers attempt to execute in their commercials. In my experience, if you want something that will perform without fail in rugged conditions, reference the attire of the professionals working in those conditions every day rain or shine.
As someone that genuinely enjoys getting my hands dirty, be it yard work or hunting, finding the right jacket for the right season is a difficult decision considering the expansive list of options. Oddly enough, my first Carhartt jacket – the Washed Duck Active – was a rather impulsive purchase driven by the faded memories of adverts while flipping through my grandfather’s monthly hunting magazines that had formed a leaning heap in his barbershop. It’s a brand I trusted without reason, but it’s a brand that has proven its worth. Designed to accommodate additional layers, this quilt-lined jacket works well in varying temperatures aided by elastic knitted cuffs that keep cold out. Season after wintery season, this jacket hasn’t disappointed. It’s become a default choice when heading outdoors. However, Carhartt now has some better options if rain is on the horizon than my Washed Duck Active.
After reading a few positive reviews I had decided that the Carhartt Shoreline would be an ideal lightweight yet waterproof springtime jacket for northern Michigan. More often than not, spring is an inconsistent season requiring the need for a jacket that adapts to all conditions. Several rainstorms have confirmed that the Shoreline jacket easily copes with any level of rain, while keeping your base layer dry for an entire day’s work. Not only does it keep water out, it also allows the body to breathe by letting moisture escape. It’s a combination that works well and looks the part.
There’s a saying that “form follows function,” but in this case, Carhartt has unexpectedly achieved both goals. Not that a work jacket designed to shrug off snow, rain, or rough machinery should be a dull assortment of fabric, but it is inviting when style compliments durability. Carhartt doesn’t replace everyday brands like Patagonia, but it wasn’t intended that way. The role of a dedicated work jacket ready for any assignment is still very much present in the brand. Though the Active Duck and Shoreline jackets fill different roles depending on the season or outdoor task, both perform as years of experience from thousands of hard working individuals have come to expect.